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Feedback on past Articles

Thanks to those that have made the effort to provide feedback on Wood Matters articles. If you have not noticed, at the end of each article are the words "For comment on this article click here." Please feel free to click and have your say!

As Wood Matters evolves, we would like to develop bulletin boards or forums in which readers can post comments and even comments on comments. I think blogging might be the internet term for such a phenomenon. In the meantime, however, we welcome your feedback and comments on what you think of Wood Matters content, what you would like to see, or any other comments you may have or wish to make.

A special thanks to Rory O'Malley, an historian and economist from Australia. Rory made a comprehensive e-mail reply to our article Can an Understanding of the Global Commodity Market and International Trends Assist us in Timing our Harvesting Better?. Amongst other things, Rory challenged the NZ forestry sector to become better at understanding the global influences that affect the economic environment in which we practise forestry to enable us to make better decisions.

More specifically Rory asked what were the drivers of the dramatic global timber price spike in 1993.

During 2002 and the first part of 2003 log prices globally increased dramatically. As we saw in the graph in the last Wood Matters, Douglas fir price in the US doubled from USD130/m³. This was followed by a rapid decrease in prices. The same pattern can be observed in A grade export log price in New Zealand.

A characteristic of this period was a rapid rise in the environmental movement in the US which was moving from a popularist base to a strong political/legislative base. At the time, the iconic endangered spotted owl captured the imagination of the American people and large areas of formerly commercially available timberland was locked up for conservation. This raised serious global supply concerns which snowballed and culminated in a price bubble.

What is particularly concerning about the price series above (which is inflation adjusted) is that real prices have declined from the 1993 spike to 2005 and have barely risen by more than the rate of inflation since then. This is one of the reasons PF Olsen see R&D and market development as two imperatives to lift NZ timber values up to higher levels (see "Clarky's Comment").